Carretera Transpeninsular Km 5 Misiones, Cabo San Lucas, Baha Sur., Mexico
Appealing to the young, beautiful, stylish, and newly moneyed, The Cape is a welcome luxury oceanfront resort that is unabashedly contemporary.
Thompson Hotels, part of the larger Commune Group that also runs Joie de Vivre, has long had nearly its entire footprint in the urban United States. Would their usual angle of hip lounge spaces and a high cool factor translate to the beach—in the most upscale resort area of Mexico, Los Cabos?
It is a bit jarring at first to step into this industrial-leaning space with poured concrete and dark gray or black in every direction. The whale sculpture made of driftwood provides a nice sense of place at the entrance to the lobby, however, and then you look out the open front and see the famous arch of Cabo San Lucas off in the distance across the water.
One benefit of having an American-dominated company doing the hiring and training at this property when it opened in mid-2015 is that the level of English proficiency is the highest I’ve ever experienced anywhere in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Here even the bellhops and waiters sound like they spent time abroad and the most important staffers in management and at the front desk don't blink at yankee slang and rapid–fire requests.
Appropriately they keep their cool at all times and while the service is more like a VIP section at a nightclub rather than the loquacious attention you find at the other top properties in this region, it works perfectly for this clientele. That crowd, during my visit, included NFL cheerleaders, romantic young couples from Silicon Valley, and a wedding party full of 30-somethings doing shots until the wee hours. None of them appeared to be accustomed to scrutinizing the menu prices.
The main open area after reception is a giant bar and lounge, all open to the sea with a pool table plus chairs strategically ready for watching the sunset. One level down is a large infinity pool with another bar, a swim-up section at one end and a wait staff fetching drinks and food. From the edge of the pool the view is of the ever-changing arch colors as the sun moves across the sky, as well as surfers when the waves are up. At one point I took my eye off the surfers and looked further out, just as a humpback whale breached and created a giant splash.
There's a small beach area below that's okay for a little exercise or a romantic stroll, but as with most in the area, the waves and riptides require vigilance and respect.
The main restaurant is on the same level as the pool, with outdoor seating when the weather is nice and an air-conditioned indoor part for when the thermometer breaks 100F. It serves a mix of Mexican and international dishes that make the most of the ocean's bounty and what’s grown on farms on this isolated peninsula. The signature restaurant here is Manta, part of the ever-expanding empire of Pujol celebrity chef Enrique Olivera. Manta is a type of ray, but it's also the Spanish word for canvas. What he has painted on this canvas is a fusion of Pacific Mexican cuisine and Japanese isakaya tradition, going beyond the obvious parallels between ceviche and sushi.
Naturally a hip hotel drawing lots of Californians needs to have yoga, a good gym, and a notable spa, so all are in place here. The spa with hydrotherapy circuit gets raves and pans from different reviewers depending on how they feel about the main decorative element: darkness. It's all black-on-black, meant to block all stimulation except the sound of the waves outside. Some love the isolation tank experience, but others find it too dark, opting instead to get their massage next to the ocean in one of the two outdoor cabanas. If you do stay in you have a wide variety of treatments on the menu, from a "pear and green apple sugar scrub and wrap" to a super foods facial with citrus and kale.
In a competitive resort region that contains some of the best hotel rooms and suites in the Americas, however, it's the accommodations that really need to shine in order to compete. Those at The Cape are more inviting and warm than the public areas would imply. VIP and suite guests get a bottle of surprisingly smooth custom blanco tequila from Realeza Mexicana and enter a spacious room with traditional colonial patterned tiles on the floor. This may be contemporary Mexico, but Mexico nevertheless. artworks by the Mexican ceramist José Noé Suro and surfer photos framed on the wall go a long way toward making it clear you're not in a city. Every room has a view of the water, the waves, and the distant arch.
Platform beds have rich woods on the outside, cushioned headboards on the inside, plus the tub and shower are obviously aimed at romantic couples. The free-standing tub with a pounded copper exterior and porcelain interior is just steps from the bed, while the shower is separated from the bedroom by a wall of glass only. Naturally it's big enough for two and has two showerheads. All the expected amenities are in place, plus two contemporary love seats, a real desk with complimentary Wi-Fi, and carefully selected toiletries. The balconies here are divine, with swinging day beds, lounge chairs with tables, and a killer view.
Splurges for better digs are rewarded, with the junior suites and Thompson Suites providing more space, then a progression goes up through villas with two and three bedrooms. These typically have more baths, a huge party deck with a plunge pool, and even more decadent bathrooms. To really splash out, go for the largest penthouse.
The top floor of The Cape Hotel has a beer garden and function space, with truly panoramic views of this coastline. For several months of the year the spray from whale spouts will punctuate the view. The rest of the time the views are sure to be great on the people-watching side for this contemporary resort by the sea.
Web Address: Thompson Hotels The Cape
Total Number of Tents: 161
Published rates: $499 to $5,000 not including taxes.
Review and photos by Timothy Scott